New York Daily News

August 8, 2014


Death of Eric Garner creates various viewpoints on his arrest and police conduct

Manny Jeckel wrote that Garner's death 'will give all those citizens in NYC cause to be suspicious of all police officers.' Some readers took offense when Hamill called Officer Daniel Pantaleo a 'coward' for using a chokehold on Garner. Others criticized Garner for his extensive criminal record, while some New Yorkers accused cops of racism.

By Denis Hamill

Patrick Lynch is a passionate union leader for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. He has a duty to advocate for a cop who gets jammed up.

But his news conference the other day went beyond defending Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the Staten Island cop who wrestled Eric Garner to the ground with a barred chokehold while trying to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes.

The medical examiner’s office ruled Garner’s death a homicide.

Like a crafty illusionist, Lynch tried to misdirect blame for the death to the medical examiner, the mayor, the police commissioner, the news media and civil rights activists. But I’ve been hearing varying viewpoints since the morning after Garner’s death when I interviewed his widow, Esaw Garner.

Those comments are as important here as those of public figures and the press.

When I wrote about a need to rid the NYPD of “cowboy cops,” Manny Jeckel replied:

“How in hell did a cop like this (Pantaleo) ever get past the psychological tests before getting a badge? Maybe those tests are not stringent enough. . . . One incident like this will give all of those citizens in NYC cause to be suspicious of all police officers, and sad to say that will include those (officers) who really belong on the force. A way must be found to get rid of the lunatics on the force once and for all.”

Patrick Lynch, president of the police union, defended Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo and seemed to blame everyone else for Eric Garner's death.

Some readers took offense at my calling Pantaleo a “coward” for putting Garner in a chokehold from behind. Frank Libretto wrote:

“Can you please tell me why he is a coward? The grossly obese male who has an extensive arrest background was resisting a lawful arrest after breaking the law again. . . . Anyone who sits behind a keyboard and calls people names is what I consider to be a coward.”

Andrew Murray weighed in:

“As usual, you and your liberal friends have their shorts all twisted without all the facts. You want these cops jailed, crucified, tarred and feathered. . . . By the way the chokehold is not illegal, it is against PD policy — NOT ILLEGAL. . . . What were the officers supposed to do when this 350-pound-plus man resisted arrest? Say pretty please?”

Kevin Cregan wasn’t as genteel:

“You really are a liberal ass-kissing piece of s---,” he wrote. “I wish for one day you need NYPD assistance and hope you receive NO HELP at all!!”